Steven Johnson

I was born in Brooklyn and raised in North Philadelphia. My mother was a single parent and even though she tried to set boundaries for me, I pretty much did what I wanted as a child. I was molested by my babysitter at six years old so I was exposed to sex at a very young age. Throughout the years I slept around a lot so I don’t know who gave me HIV. I was also hooked on drugs, crack and cocaine, but because I came from a place of no love or self-respect, I didn’t care. It was that kind of attitude that led me to rob and steal. In 2000, I was sent to state prison for two years. That’s when I found out that I was HIV positive. After I got out of prison, I was in a recovery program that introduced me to FIGHT. I decided to enroll in Project TEACH because I had a desire to become a peer educator. My process of change started here at FIGHT. Not just because of the peer education part, but also because of the love, respect and the education that I received from the class. I wanted to learn more about myself and this disease and how I could take better care of myself. I stumbled and I fell, but I kept going. Today, I love myself; I love people. My life is totally blessed. Yeah I have my struggles, but today I know I can deal with them. When I sat down and came to Project TEACH, I got so much information and I finally had the opportunity to put myself first. Now I don’t steal, I don’t lie, and I don’t manipulate. I take my meds on time. Today, I’ll reach out to that person who is struggling with drugs or who is HIV-positive. I’m always there to talk someone and I’m always trying to find someone who can talk to me; that’s part of my process. Just like everyone else, I need help. I can’t do this all by myself. Project TEACH taught me that too. I’m not alone. I’m not going to die. It feels good to be in service but it’s also a reminder of what I used to be. I’m proud of myself because I’m finally a Peer Educator and I teach people about things - not just HIV and STDS, but general health. I am giving back. This is my story. I’ve been through a lot of things in life, even to the point of almost surrendering and giving up. But I would tell people, no matter what happens, don’t give up. Just keep moving.

- Steven Johnson

Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents and students.

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Karam Mounzer, MD

Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center

FIGHT Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center - Dr. Mario Cruz
February 2018 – Philadelphia FIGHT will be opening a new Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center dedicated to providing high quality, comprehensive, primary care to address the physical, emotional and sexual health needs of inner-city children and youth from birth through age 24.